Abstract by Spencer Roberts
Physics and Astronomy
Robert Davis, Richard Vanfleet
Plasma etching sacrificial features in Carbon Nanotube Templated Microfabrication of Neural probe arrays.
A new approach to neural probe arrays using Carbon Nanotube Templated Microfabrication produces probes that would be smaller and more compliant than existing technologies. To achieve tall, straight probes, a sacrificial hedge is grown connecting adjacent probes and then is removed with a series of plasma etching approaches. Recently, the plasma etch has been ineffective at removing the hedges without severely damaging the probes. My research has been investigating what caused our original process to fail. I found that in recent growths the nanotubes at the top of the structure are significantly thicker than expected and are thus more resistant to etching. Examining the growth process revealed that gas leaks into the growth area during temperature ramp-up were likely the cause of this problem. After addressing these leaks, we are able to successfully etch the sacrificial hedges again.